Gabrielle retired last year and now has time to write stories and memoirs for her children and grandchildren, something she has wanted to do for years.
I have loved lots of people over my lifetime. I could say I especially love my children. They were born three years apart, a girl then a boy.
When they were four and one, I thought what a perfect age this was. I felt I would like to capture this time and hold it forever but the following year I also thought this was the perfect age and how could it be any better. I felt like this all through their growing up. Each age seemed such a perfect time.
I was immensely happy bringing up my two children, feeling loved and loving. When they got to be teenagers it wasn’t so easy. My daughter rebelled against her father and he reacted badly to this. My son became monosyllabic as teenage boys often do. They were coming out of their childhood years, seeing flaws in their parents that weren’t visible when they were small.
Two years before my daughter was born I went into labour early and delivered twins at 27 weeks. There was no ultrasound scanning in those days so I only learned that I was carrying them one week before they were born.
One baby, a boy whom we called Adrian, lived only a few hours. The other a little girl, Suzanna, lived for six weeks. She was such an active little baby lying in an incubator with an unruly mop of black hair on her tiny head. I expressed milk with a hand pump and took it into the hospital every day. When she died a doctor said,
“What are you moaning about, you’ll have another one in nine months.”
But the paediatrician said to me, “You were meant to be a mother. I have never seen anyone with so much milk when their baby was born so early”.
Though my heart was breaking I held onto those words like a woman drowning as I poured the last bottles of my milk down the sink.
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